- By admin
- In Tyres
Not wishing to sound a gloomy note but we have to acknowledge that winter is just around the corner and it is time to check our cars over, ready for the chill. One of the most crucial aspects of winter road safety is that of tyres. They need to be in good condition. Better still, why not consider a set of winter tyres, designed to take on the worst that the dark season can throw at us?
Over on continental Europe the benefits of winter tyres have been recognised for years and in some countries they are mandatory. They are not compulsory here and this might be because we rarely experience extreme weather conditions. Also, a lot of drivers resolutely leave the car in the garage when there’s ice and snow around.
The fact remains statistics clearly show that UK motorists are up to six times more likely to be involved in an accident between October and March than during the rest of the year. When the temperature plummets road conditions can become treacherous, even if not apparently so. There is then definitely a case for obtaining a set of winter tyres, swapping them for the more conventional Summer rubber. This is especially true for people who live in more remote areas, for obvious reasons.
It may seem like an expense too far but two sets of tyres will last twice as long and swapping them over is a quick job at your local servicing garage or tyre supplier who can also advise on the most suitable brand or type. It might be made easier still if two sets of wheels are used. When one set is on the car the other is in storage. A straight swap. What price safety? After all, not all drivers are confident in poor conditions and the knowledge that appropriate tyres are fitted may help.
Why Winter Tyres Work
Tried and tested, a set of winter tyres can reduce braking distances. On average a car so equipped will have stopping distance improved by over ten metres. This could make all the difference. It’s not just about riding on ice and snow; a car’s stopping distance is perhaps the most important advantage Winter rubber can give in any adverse conditions.
Winter tyres are constructed differently. They contain higher levels of natural silica than Summer tyres which enable them to remain softer and much more flexible, even when the thermometer drops to a minus number. This flexibility increases grip on the road surface thus reducing braking distances. Further, they are designed with a deeper tread pattern to disperse surface water and reduce the likelihood of aquaplaning. The heavier tread also aids traction by biting into surface snow and ice.
Is It Worth It?
That’s a good question, especially here in the UK, but the answer is an emphatic yes. It’s true that for the last few years Britain has experienced relatively mild Winters, something that has made driving easier. This year however it has been noticeably chillier, earlier. In short, we never know what to expect in this country so better safe than sorry. Rain-soaked roads and cold temperatures are enough to justify buying Winter tyres.
Car makers too recommend winter tyres to ensure drivers get better and safer performance, precision and control from their vehicles during the Winter months. It’s worth thinking about.